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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Bluebirds Head to State Swimming Diving Meet

Highlands Seeks Top 10 Finishes for Boys, Combined Teams

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, The Highlands Swimming and Diving Team heads to the state meet in Louisville over the weekend.
The main goals have been accomplished.

But the Highlands Swimming and Diving teams would not mind some icing on the cake at the State Swimming and Diving Meet. The three-day event from Thursday to Saturday takes place at the Ralph Wright Natatorium at the University of Louisville.

In the Region 7 Meet, the Highlands boys won their first region crown since 1994 and the combined teams won region for the seventh straight year. The Highlands girls finished fourth.

"It says it's heading in the perfect direction. I don't think we can get any better than where we are now," said Chas Sand, Highlands senior swimmer. "I'm really excited for what we've done. It's pretty exciting winning region for the first time since 1994. It says a lot about the program itself."

A number of swimmers and divers qualified for state for both teams. The top 16 placers score points in the meet. To qualify for state, individuals and relay teams had to finish in the top two at region or be among the top 22 times and scores after that for a total of 40 participants or teams in each event.

"We're spread out. But we have a lot of young talent, too. It's not like after this year, we're done," said Amanda Johnson, Highlands Head Coach. "We have a lot behind that. You work toward regionals. But then at state, that's where you want to be at your very best."

The boys have been led all season by senior Garrison Herfel. Herfel won the 50-yard freestyle in 21.63 seconds at region and 100 free in 48.54 seconds. The 50 free time ranks fourth among state qualifiers.

Junior Brendan Conley won the 200 freestyle in 1:43.5 at region and finished second in the 500 free in 4:43.28. The 500 free time is ranked fifth among state qualifiers and the 200 time ranks seventh.

"A lot of times, I don't really think of anything," Conley said. "Just with how much time I am training, when you actually get to the race, you've prepared for it so many times and gone over it so many times that it kind of goes on autopilot."

Highlands sophomore diver Finn Murphy finished second in the one-meter diving at region. That score of 496.05 also ranks second among state qualifiers.

Highlands dominated the relay races winning the 200 free in 1:28.56 and 400 free in 3:11.82. The Bluebirds also finished second in the 200 medley in 1:39.8. The 200 and 400 free times ranks third among state qualifiers. The 200 free relay teams consisted of Herfel, freshmen Mac Russell, Will Griffith and Jake Ryan and the 400 free consisted of Russell, Griffith, Conley and Herfel.

Highlands has a little less than two weeks to prepare for the state meet. Every swimmer and diver approaches the state meet different.

"Some of them will be tapering or re-tapering for state so they'll be ready to go," Johnson said. "They're very excited about state. When you get down there, you see more too. We have a bunch of them seeded high or got in. To get in is phenomenal."

The Highlands girls have been led by sophomore Caroline Sand. She finished second in both the 100 free in 51.84 seconds and 200 free in 1:53.32 at region. Both are new school records.

"I think our swimmers are ready. I think we spend time as a team getting ready for every meet," said Rachel Moscona, Highlands sophomore swimmer. "We have our little pizza dinners and we'll just sit around talking about what we need to do to get ready."

The Louisville St. Xavier boys have won 29 consecutive state championships dating back to 1988 when Elizabethtown won it. The Tigers have 53 state championships in school history. On the girls' side, Sacred Heart has won 26 state championships including the last five.

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